1994 Ridge "Pagani Ranch" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

SKU #330100 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 So what's new? Once again, winemaker Paul Draper has produced five beautifully made, rich, distinctive Zinfandels. The outstanding 1994 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch (75% Zinfandel, 18% Mataro, 4% Alicante, 3% Petite Sirah) is the most forceful Ridge Zinfandel as it achieved 14.7% natural alcohol. It is a rich, dense, full-bodied, sweet (from grape maturity, not sugar), jammy Zinfandel with gobs of ostentatiously-styled, in-your-face characteristics. This bold, flashy wine is sure to win many a blind tasting. I believe Paul Draper's decision to add a healthy dose of Mataro has given this wine more delineation and structure than it has possessed in past vintages. (RP)  (6/1996)

90 points Wine Spectator

 Firm and intense, with a tight core of leathery currant, herb and cedary oak flavors that open up to reveal more depth and richness just before the tannins kick in.  (9/1996)

Connoisseurs Guide

 Outgoing and engaging aromas of ripe blackberries with a jammy bent, toasty oak and hints of raisin and loam are followed on the palate by deep berryish flavors made all the more compelling by vanilla bean oak and a dark chocolate note. Moderately tannic and just the slightest bit hot, this sizable wine is rounded and fleshy in feel, and its structure holds back little of the wine’s evident charms.  (1/1997)

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Varietal:

Zinfandel

- The bid to name Zinfandel California's "State Varietal" may have failed, but this red wine grape, grown extensively in California since the mid-1800s, is grown in few other places in the world. Sadly, much of what's cultivated today is planted where it's too hot and flat. But when planted to well-drained, hillside vineyards that are warm but not too hot, like those in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley and Amador County in the Sierra Foothills, Zinfandel can produce wines with plenty of character. High in natural alcohol and tannin, grown carefully it can be rich and complex, with dark fruit berry fruit and peppery spice. The most known example of Zinfandel outside of California is Italy's Primitivo, which can be similar in style, but is often a bit lighter and less alcoholic than West Coast examples.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).